Often referred to as slot receiver, this position in the NFL gives quarterbacks an additional weapon to throw downfield. It also allows them to extend the field and attack all three levels of the defense.
There are plenty of talented slot wideouts in the NFL today, but what makes a player a fit for this particular role? Below, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the position and what it takes to be a successful slot receiver.
Speed and Hands
One of the primary skills a slot receiver needs to have is speed. They need to be able to run past the secondary, usually the safety, and catch the ball in the air. They also need to have great hands, as they’ll be receiving a lot of passes.
Routes and Timing
A slot receiver is a versatile player who can run different routes. They’re not only capable of running go routes, but they can also run short passes, such as slants or quick outs. They’re especially effective in the passing game because they can be a big part of the blocking game, as they’ll line up near the middle of the field.
They’re also known for their accuracy and great awareness of the field, so they can be a big part of the offense’s passing game. They need to be able to read the defense and make plays at the right time, which can lead to some really big receptions in the end zone.
Al Davis invented the slot formation, which allowed him to set two wide receivers on the inside while leaving a third open on the outside. Davis wanted his slot receivers to have lots of speed, excellent hands, and be very accurate with their routes and timing.
The slot receiver position has become a staple in the NFL, with a number of teams relying on them more and more. They’re a great addition to any offense, as they can stretch the field and give quarterbacks an extra blocker when they’re running the ball.
Typically, slot receivers will line up behind the line of scrimmage, which allows them to get easy motions and shifts in their alignments. It also increases their distance from the defender, which can help them make an easier catch when they’re running up or in the air.
They’re also an important cog in the blocking game, as they’ll line close to the middle of the field and have to be able to block a nickelback or an outside linebacker. This helps them seal off the outside on running plays designed to go to that area of the field, which can be critical on certain runs.
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